Pakistan rejects ‘Indian guided tours’ to occupied Kashmir

Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir has been under a very strict watch of around one million security forces since August 5, 2019.–File photo

Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday strongly reacted to Indian guided tours to the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir.

Responding to media queries about the latest Indian move, a spokesperson for the ministry stated, “Pakistan rejects the Indian Ministry of External Affairs remarks regarding the recent visit of a group of Delhi-based diplomats to Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).”

The ministry said in a press release, “It is reiterated that such guided tours to the occupied territory and meetings with hand-picked people are designed to create a smoke-screen to divert attention from the egregious human rights violations in IIOJK and India’s illegal measures to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory.

“The statement by UN Special Rapporteur on Minority issues and Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion and belief on the concluding day of this visit has rightly highlighted the Indian attempts to “alter the demographics of the region and undermine the minorities’ ability to exercise effectively their human rights”.

“No sham electoral exercise in IIOJK can substitute the UN Security Council mandated plebiscite under the UN auspices.

“India cannot even feign ‘normalcy’ with continuing military siege and restrictions on the fundamental freedoms of Kashmiri people. The people’s rights to assembly, free movement, freedom of expression and even to safety of life and property are routinely violated in the IIOJK with impunity. The talk of ‘inclusive development’ while hundreds of thousands of Kashmiris are being deprived of basic rights and economic opportunities is farcical.

“The so-called ‘development’ narrative is also an attempt to mislead the international community. It is meant to obfuscate the machinations to further disempower and disenfranchise the Kashmiri people who are being reduced to a minority in their own land through the ongoing demographic restructuring in violation of relevant UNSC resolutions and the international law, including the 4th Geneva Convention.

“Pakistan reiterates its call to the international community to urge India to allow the Kashmiris to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination as enshrined in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions,” says the press release, which was released on the ministry’s website on February 20.

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